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Parashat Pekudei

Dedicated Leilui Nishmat Saadia ben Miriam A’h by the Torgueman Family

Parashat Pekudei

The Building of the Mishkan

Parashat Pekudei like parashat Vayakhel discusses the building of the mishkan. The mishkan was a temporary resting place for the shechina while B'nei Yisrael was traveling in the desert until they got to Eretz Yisrael where they would eventually build the Bet Hamikdash. The parasha begins as it reads in pasuk 22 saying..."Bezalel, son of Uri son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, did everything that Hashem commanded Moshe". So great was Bezalel that he did not act only on Moshe's command. He had a concept through Ruach Hakodesh of what the Mishkan should look like and he proceeded to build it. Hashem put a special wisdom in Bezael so he was able to build the mishkan according to Hashem's satisfaction. His name "Beza El" means in the shadow of Hashem. Rashi comments on this that Bezalel realized on his own that the proper order was to make the tabernacle first and then acquire the furniture to build into it.

This is repeated from last weeks parasha in Vayekhel, perek 35 pasuk 30/31 where it says..."See Hashem has proclaimed by name, Bezalel, son or Uri son of Hur, of the tribe of Yehudah...He filled him with a G-dly spirit, with the wisdom, insight and knowledge of every craft.” Why does the Torah have to give the lineage multiple times when talking about Bezalel? According to the Meshaah Chochma who lived in the time of the Chafetz Chaim, Bezalel was given this special wisdom as part of a midah keneged midah. The trait of the tribe of Yehudah was to act as Nachshon Ben Aminadav did by jumping into the yam suf and not second guessing himself, thereby showing his Emunah to Hashem that if he jumps...Hashem will split the sea for him and B'nei Yisrael to cross the sea and be saved from the Egyptians.This was the display of courage that the tribe of Yehudah had exemplified their Emunah in Hashem and their mesirut nefesh. Bezalel's grandfather Hur would give up his life rather than worship the avodah zarah of the golden calf! So it’s because of this trait they had...Hashem gave Bezalel, the tremendous wisdom to be able to build the mishkan with all its intricacies which was a kaparah for the sin of the golden calf. Another idea we learn is that it says in the parasha 18 times "Kaasher Tzevah Hashem et Moshe" meaning..."As Hashem Commanded Moshe"...the repeating it 18 times which stands for Life also has a direct connection to the 18 berachot that we have in our Amida that we say 3 times a day.

All Beginnings are Difficult...

In perek 39 pasuk 32 it says that "All the work of the Mishkan, the tent of meeting was completed, and B'nei Yisrael had done everything that Hashem commanded Moshe, so did they do". You would think that this pasuk should be in reverse and read that B'nei Yisrael did all the work and the Mishkan was completed. The reason for this somewhat reverse order is because B’nei Yisrael did their share of the work but it was Hashem who actually completed it. We learn from this, that when we start a project, even though it may seem overwhelming at the beginning, we must know that with Hashems help it will get completed as the saying goes..."Kol Hatkachot Kalot" which means "All beginnings are difficult!"

In addition, there is another difficulty. Throughout Chapter 39, we find the words, “Ka’asher tzivah Hashem et Moshe – [They did] as Hashem commanded Moshe,” when discussing each task that was completed. Following this, it says, “Vayaasu Bnei Yisrael Ke’chol asher tzivah Hashem et Moshe – Bnei Yisrael did all that Hashem commanded Moshe” (39:32). At no time does the Torah say that they did all He commanded them, only that they did it as Hashem commanded Moshe.

But in the last pasuk in Chapter 39, we find a switch: In the second verse cited above, it says “ka’asher tzivah Hashem – as Hashem commanded,” not Moshe. Why is there a change at this point? And does this change relate to the berachah that Moshe then gave them?

When asked by an important person to perform a service for him, we do it so quickly. It feels great to do a favor for a dignitary or famous person. We do it with zeal, and we even look forward to the opportunity to do it again. Yet, if the same person would send his assistant, who would request the same service in the name of the dignitary, the performance of the service may be somewhat lackluster. The person will comply; however, since the personal nature of the request is missing, the one doing the service will not associate his actions that closely with the great person requesting it.

Hashem gave Moshe instructions with which to task B’nei Yisrael. They were never given a direct command from Hashem. The Torah makes clear that they did “as Hashem commanded Moshe,” based on secondhand instructions. Of course, they still complied. Yet, even after all was said and done, Moshe saw that their enthusiasm and zest were as high as can be. Hearing the order from Moshe – and not Hashem – did not decrease their devotion to the project. They built the Mishkan as if they were given instructions directly from Hashem.

Pessukim 42 and 43 continue, “And Moshe looked upon all the work, and behold, they had done it as Hashem had commanded.” That is why there was a switch. Moshe saw that B’nei Yisrael completed everything that had been commanded of them as if it had been said directly to them by Hashem. And that is when Moshe blessed them! People who are so committed to what Hashem wants, to the point that hearing it secondhand does not detract from their commitment, are indeed worthy of a berachah.

As we’re learning about the Mishkan which is the equivalence of what our shuls are of today, it brings to mind so many of our lay leaders throughout our communities history who were pioneers in doing service to our synagogues. Unfortunately, we lost one of those men this past week, Mr Felix Torgueman A’h, who was nothing less than a fixture in his shul and who this week’s Divre Torah is Dedicated in memory of. May his legacy continue through his children and grandchildren.

Kidush Hashem-The Greatest Mitzvah!

The verse says in Tehillim (20:3), “Hashem sends us His assistance” because of the kiddush Hashem that we create through our honest, proper, upstanding conduct. Kiddush Hashem, very often, is not planned. It results naturally from living life the way Hashem wants us to.

In Rabbi Asher’s Daily Emunah book, there’s a story told by Rabbi Falk of a talmid chacham in Eretz Yisrael whose son took seriously ill one Shabbat. He desperately needed a doctor immediately and he heard that there was an excellent doctor, who lived down the block from him. The doctor who was a secular Jew agreed to treat the boy, but demanded that he be given a check before treating his son. “I don’t trust religious Jews,” he said. “I will tend to your son only if you give me a 500-shekel check right now.”

The talmid chacham father did not have much money but expressed to the secular doctor that he pay him once shabbat ended, but to no avail. Halacha clearly establishes that the concern for human life overrides Torah law, and so the father wrote a check (in an unusual manner) and handed it to the doctor. The doctor looked at the check and noticed that it was for 1,000 shekels.

“Maybe you didn’t hear me,” the doctor said, “I asked for 500 shekels, not 1,000. Looking around your apartment it does not appear as though you can afford to pay me double.”

The talmid chacham explained that to write a 500-shekel check, he would have to write three words: “chamesh meod shelel” whereas giving 1,000 shekels required writing just two words, “eleph sekel”. In order to minimize the desecration of Shabbat he was prepared to double the amount.

The doctor was amazed. He has never seen anything like this in his lifetime, a poor person paying an extra 500 shekels in order to write one less word on Shabbat. He gave him back 500-shekels change, and brought the check home to show it to his wife. After Shabbat, he returned to the man’s home and said, “I was so moved by what you did today, I decided that I wanted to learn more about Shabbat and Judaism,” The Rabbi began studying with him and the doctor ultimately became a baal teshuvah.

This was a kiddush Hashem at the very highest level. This talmid chacham did not plan on making a kiddush Hashem, and was just living life the way Hashem wanted him to. And in his merit, this doctor, and his children and grandchildren, will continue to observe the Torah and mitzvot for generations to come.

If we conduct our lives the way Hashem wants us to, we will make a kiddush Hashem, and then He will send us the help and salvation that we need! Amen!

May we all be able to serve the community with honesty and integrity and only lashem shamayiim for the sake of helping the community without looking for Kavod just as Mr Felix Torgueman did over the course of his lifetime. May we also learn the importance of making a kidush Hashem in any opportunity that’s presented to us because you never know the tremendous benefits it will produce! Amen!

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Amram Sananes as written by Jack Rahmey

Leiluiy Nishmat....

Eliyahu Ben Rachel Rabbi Shimon Chay Ben Yaasher

Sarah Bat Chanah Esther Bat Sarah

Shulamit Bat Helaina Rabbi Meyer Ben Chana

Batsheva Bat Sarah Esther Rafael Ben Miriam

Rav Haim Ben Rivka Moshe Ben Mazal

Yitzchak Ben Adele Avraham Ben Mazal

Chanah Bat Esthe Ovadia Ben Esther

Moshe Ben Garaz Rahamim Ben Mazal

Avraham Ben Garaz Avraham Ben Mazal

Yaakov Ben Rachel Avraham Ben Kami

Meir Ben Latifa Moshe Ben Yael

Malka Bat Garaz Mordechai Ben Rachel

Yaakov Ben Leah Saadia Ben Miriam

Chacham Shaul Rachamim Ben Mazal

Natan Ben Rachel

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